Jim Sterling: Pokémon's Business Model Has Always Been Trash

Richter1887

Member
Oct 27, 2017
18,467
What i meant with gain is that the reason for the two versions is for the trading and socializing aspect which lead to word of mounth with lead to more sales, if a vocal yet small minority is complaining because they get mad that some people for some reason are buying both why would you listen to them, the fault would not be at gamefreak because they gave ways in order to get everything with one version, the trading aspect of the series is well know and it's part of it's identity and when i say what would they gain is that the people complain for this thing are either people that don't plays the games or people that would complain about something else instead
But I don't get this: How does giving you the choice to start with A or B prevent trading from working? If the you start the game and pick A then B pokemon won't be in the save and thus you would need to trade anyway. I don't see how you must sell two versions of the game to make trading work.
 
Jan 10, 2018
4,737
But I don't get this: How does giving you the choice to start with A or B prevent trading from working? If the you start the game and pick A then B pokemon won't be in the save and thus you would need to trade anyway. I don't see how you must sell two versions of the game to make trading work.
It was needed back in the day and the market has still not stopped embracing it. Thats about it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
14,624
Austria
My nephew is obsessed with the game and the two versions thing is a huge part of it.
Partly because he doesn't fully understand how video games work and how they are limited but the pure enjoyment he get's out of talking with his friend who owns the different version about different Pokemon they saw (some of which I'm sure are actually in both versions, one just hasn't seen them yet) is just heartwarming.
The business model is what it is, it's crap if you look at it objectively. But it works for children which is the target audience so....eh
Can't bring myself to care
 

Richter1887

Member
Oct 27, 2017
18,467
It was needed back in the day and the market has still not stopped embracing it. Thats about it.
Oh I do understand that part.

What I don't get is why people are saying the reason is "trading" and not selling two versions of the game itself. It is obvious they still make two versions cause people are buying it. Not cause of trade or some other reason.
 
Jan 10, 2018
4,737
Oh I do understand that part.

What I don't get is why people are saying the reason is "trading" and not selling two versions of the game itself. It is obvious they still make two versions cause people are buying it. Not cause of trade or some other reason.
Joining a team over the other has a huge appeal , see Jacob vs Edward, Iron Man vs Captain America, the houses of Hogwarts etc etc You were team red because a dragon over a stupid turtle at any day. Trading and joining a team was always part of the phenomenon and was later reflected by the marketing. That was always the core DNA of Pokemon. Having both versions never was.
 
Oct 31, 2017
2,730
Personally, I’ve felt this way about Pokemon since about ~1998 as I watched Elementary school classmates become consumed with it; chasing the high of finding the right piece of paper.
 

Roliq

Member
Sep 23, 2018
298
Oh I do understand that part.

What I don't get is why people are saying the reason is "trading" and not selling two versions of the game itself. It is obvious they still make two versions cause people are buying it. Not cause of trade or some other reason.
When you give people two choices that cost money and have no downsides they create discussion about it in order to be part of something (like TeamSword, TeamShield and what not) and because there are exclusives if one wants to complete the dex one would be inclined to trade if, there was only one game per Generation part of the discussion made would not exist
 

Pryme

Member
Aug 23, 2018
2,923
It's like the Fifa model where there's mainly just a roster change....except there's two versions to get.
aside from the gameplay improvements, the Journey ‘campaign’ modes and other incremental additions.
Not just a ‘roster change’. Thats left for the legacy editions.
 

Asbsand

Member
Oct 30, 2017
7,941
Denmark
I think a lot of Pokemon fans owe themselves to zoom out and deject for a while. A lot of the incessant scrutiny and criticisms seem to stem from people sticking too closely by a series that was never really that hell bent on evolving its formula to begin with.
 

Richter1887

Member
Oct 27, 2017
18,467
Joining a team over the other has a huge appeal , see Jacob vs Edward, Iron Man vs Captain America, the houses of Hogwarts etc etc You were team red because a dragon over a stupid turtle at any day. Trading and joining a team was always part of the phenomenon and was later reflected by the marketing. That was always the core DNA of Pokemon. Having both versions never was.
When you give people two choices that cost money and have no downsides they create discussion about it in order to be part of something (like TeamSword, TeamShield and what not) and because there are exclusives if one wants to complete the dex one would be inclined to trade if, there was only one game per Generation part of the discussion made would not exist
I guess I will never understand this. Seems unecessary to me if you ask me.

Whatever, if people feel it is worth it then I guess it is what it is.
 

Cronogear

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,091
I think the whole “Pokémon only has two different versions for trading” thing went out the window when they started locking content and characters into different versions.

Think Team Aqua/Magma, White Forest and Black City in BW, different gyms (and now characters in the DLC) in SwSh, etc.

Most people probably won’t find that enough of a reason to get both versions, but I would be willing to bet some superfans of the series definitely do.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,426
Could have gone either way, he was going to attack corporate or attack the people who buy them.

Or does Sterling just not goad fanbases anymore like he once did?

The DLC is meant for owners of the one version, I mean that’s supposed to be understood in these parts as much as the fact ‘you should be aware’ there’s about to be a PS5 soon, right?
 
Jan 10, 2018
4,737
I think the whole “Pokémon only has two different versions for trading” thing went out the window when they started locking content and characters into different versions.

Think Team Aqua/Magma, White Forest and Black City in BW, different gyms (and now characters in the DLC) in SwSh, etc.

Most people probably won’t find that enough of a reason to get both versions, but I would be willing to bet some superfans of the series definitely do.
Have you been alive when they revealed Sword and Shield? People were fighting over which version is the better one, not how to finance getting both. I'm not ruling out that there are crazies buying both and definitely not saying TPC is opposed to people buying both, but that is not the appeal of the 2 versions.
 

Roliq

Member
Sep 23, 2018
298
I think the whole “Pokémon only has two different versions for trading” thing went out the window when they started locking content and characters into different versions.

Think Team Aqua/Magma, White Forest and Black City in BW, different gyms (and now characters in the DLC) in SwSh, etc.

Most people probably won’t find that enough of a reason to get both versions, but I would be willing to bet some superfans of the series definitely do.
Is it? i argue that that isn't enough considering that the only difference between Aqua and Magma is just a pokemon being replaced with another (Numel line vs Carvanha line), WF (area with some pokemon) and BC (area with some trainers) are not something that big in order to buy and finish another game and the SHSW gym leaders are so detached from the story that it would be weird to go trought the whole game again just for a 7 minute battle

Being honest the only thing it does is increase the discussion about which version is better
 

Podge293

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
3,858
User Banned (2 weeks): Inflammatory community generalizations, long history of such behavior
Imagine any body defending Nintendo and game freak with the

YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BUY BOTH VERSIONS!!!!

It's a shitty practice and should be called out as such.

seriously some of you would probably sell your children to slavery if Nintendo said it was the right thing to do.
 

Deleted member 426

User requested account closure
Banned
Oct 25, 2017
7,272
I remember those numbers well enough and should have been more clear. Actual numbers of double buyers. Like is seriously the online age the age people stopped trading?
I’ve not played Sword and Shield yet (just clearing my backlog first) so this may not apply any more. But legendaries were always difficult to trade, so I’ve known people buy both versions to get the exclusive legendaries. It’s not that crazy to imagine people getting both, especially given we know how big the sales numbers of the dual pack are. I think it’s far more unlikely they’re all just buying the dual pack and giving one of the games away.
 

laziboi

Member
Oct 25, 2019
944
It's not. It actually makes sense in the context of the series main selling point, trading. Having two slightly altered versions of the same game with different Pokemon, actually encourages the use of its trading feature. It's worked for 20 years now, so why should it change?

Imagine any body defending Nintendo and game freak with the

YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BUY BOTH VERSIONS!!!!

It's a shitty practice and should be called out as such.
Because you don't have to buy both versions if you don't want to. Seriously, ERA thinks everything companies do is out of spite.
 
Feb 20, 2019
806
Maybe trading was a big thing back in the days to make kids socialize, but now it's the Switch we're talking about. It's a bigger and more expensive console than the Gameboy. Taking a Switch to school sounds painful. And were do kids socialize? At school.

And if Gamefreaks really wants to focus on the social aspect of the game then making only one version still is enough: how about the trade evolutions, a coop mode with raids and stuff? And also trading isn't reserved to version exclusives. Sometimes you just want to trade with someone because there's a pokémon that you find too rare.

Also, did you guys forget about the trading card game? It's much more affordable, light weight and is all about trading without ruining your kid's eyes
 

Monsoon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
747
Brushing off criticism of the monetisation of modern Pokemon as "they were always a scam" is kinda wrong though. If you compare the old and new model side by side the new one just comes out worse. This thread is glaring over a lot of issues too and seem to focus on fans that want to buy both versions instead.

With the old games you bought a $40 game, then a year later an expanded version for $40 again if you wanted to. Trading was free and smooth between all versions too.

With the new one you buy a $60 game now, then later a $30 DLC adding to a total $90. On first hand that's not so bad but it comes with so many caveats.

- You can't trade in or sell your previous version, you need it to play the DLC. At least before you could soften the price of the new version with that, now you can't.

- This absolutely sucks for late adopters. I never played Gen 4, but when I do guess which I'll get, Platinum. Before you could wait for the third version and save $40 jumping in with it, now you can't. It's going to be $90 forever. Nintendo games infamously keep their prices high and this one has more than ever reason to with no third version making it obsolete.

- People are posting that because the new 200 Pokemons are getting patched to be tradeable with the base game that they aren't really behind a paywall, but they pretty much are. GTS a series staple feature has been stripped and moved to the subscription based Pokemon Home. Trading is intentionally obtuse and finding even a fraction of those 200 Pokemons is going to be extremely tedious because it requires you to find people yourself now. Pokemon Home will probably be a $5 year subscription and you need NSO in the first place to trade, which is $4 at the lowest. Add another $9 to the new Gen price.

So you could pretty much get the "complete" experience of a Pokemon generation for $40 before at lowest if you skipped first version and $80 if you got first+third. Meanwhile SwSh is going to be ~$100 for the same experience.

It's a moneysink now no matter how you cut it, and kinda draconian tbh.
 
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Jan 10, 2018
4,737
I’ve not played Sword and Shield yet (just clearing my backlog first) so this may not apply any more. But legendaries were always difficult to trade, so I’ve known people buy both versions to get the exclusive legendaries. It’s not that crazy to imagine people getting both, especially given we know how big the sales numbers of the dual pack are. I think it’s far more unlikely they’re all just buying the dual pack and giving one of the games away.
I don't rule out there are people who buy both versions just for themselves. I just rule out that it is the core business model of Pokemon and that the 2 versions model was introduced to make you buy both versions, because simply that isn't the case.
 

MoonToon

Member
Nov 9, 2018
684
But why would you own both versions? I don't understand this.
Much of the Pokemon Fandom has been trained to be good lil pay pigs since child hood.

I should know, up til recently in the series I would buy both versions.
Why? Cause the fucking game doesn't have multiple save files. So if you wanted to replay the game you would either have to trade all your mons to a friend and hope you could get them back or just start over.

So I'd speed run 1 game so that I could get through the story and start really shiny hunting, breed and hunt the shinies I liked, start up game 2 and actually play through the game with a team of shinies with good stats and natures that I liked so that I could have those epic battles with my favorite mons.

I also prefer being able to catch mons on my own when I can (as shiny hunting through breeding is mostly annoying and something I'd save for really cool mons that I really wanted to have special egg moves or have the best stat layouts for my 2nd game run. Like Haxorus) and would use GTS just for getting Pokemon I couldn't get any other way in those games.

I'd also buy 1 of the 3rd versions and remakes for any improvements they added (Like Pokemon following you ...things that they basically kick from the series for no reason).

This was the norm for me til I think the 3DS, then the walls started to fall ... vision got less cloudy. Game ran like shit and it was calling into question how much they care about this product.
 

Lichtsang

Member
Jan 2, 2018
5,265
Much of the Pokemon Fandom has been trained to be good lil pay pigs since child hood.

I should know, up til recently in the series I would buy both versions.
Why? Cause the fucking game doesn't have multiple save files. So if you wanted to replay the game you would either have to trade all your mons to a friend and
Okay, but that's not a problem on the Switch anymore. So why are people still buying two versions of essentially the same game?
 

gardfish

Member
Oct 25, 2017
579
Maybe trading was a big thing back in the days to make kids socialize, but now it's the Switch we're talking about. It's a bigger and more expensive console than the Gameboy. Taking a Switch to school sounds painful. And were do kids socialize? At school.
Idk dude, I work at an after-school program and see kids with Switches on hand pretty regularly.
 

MoonToon

Member
Nov 9, 2018
684
Okay, but that's not a problem on the Switch anymore. So why are people still buying two versions of essentially the same game?
IDK, maybe cause they're use to it?
I didn't buy the $60 3DS game called Pokemon Sword/ Shield so IDK why people would pay $120 on them.

Hell, IDK why people would spend $90-$100 on this game after seeing how GF straight lied about Dexit just to sell them half the missing mons back later.
 

diakyu

Member
Dec 15, 2018
4,537
The two version thing is never going away, sure it's a money thing but people also need to realize by creating essentially "teams" of fans between the two to discuss which one is the "better" version GF basically already has people engaging with the product before it even releases. They have no reason to drop it.

Personally I don't really care and I buy just one version and trade for what I want.
 

Rocketjay8

Member
Apr 30, 2018
383
Much of the Pokemon Fandom has been trained to be good lil pay pigs since child hood.

I should know, up til recently in the series I would buy both versions.
Why? Cause the fucking game doesn't have multiple save files. So if you wanted to replay the game you would either have to trade all your mons to a friend and hope you could get them back or just start over.

So I'd speed run 1 game so that I could get through the story and start really shiny hunting, breed and hunt the shinies I liked, start up game 2 and actually play through the game with a team of shinies with good stats and natures that I liked so that I could have those epic battles with my favorite mons.

I also prefer being able to catch mons on my own when I can (as shiny hunting through breeding is mostly annoying and something I'd save for really cool mons that I really wanted to have special egg moves or have the best stat layouts for my 2nd game run. Like Haxorus) and would use GTS just for getting Pokemon I couldn't get any other way in those games.

I'd also buy 1 of the 3rd versions and remakes for any improvements they added (Like Pokemon following you ...things that they basically kick from the series for no reason).

This was the norm for me til I think the 3DS, then the walls started to fall ... vision got less cloudy. Game ran like shit and it was calling into question how much they care about this product.
You do realize that you can use a different profile to start a new game instead. Not defending pokemon company.
 

Lichtsang

Member
Jan 2, 2018
5,265
IDK, maybe cause they're use to it?
I didn't buy the $60 3DS game called Pokemon Sword/ Shield so IDK why people would pay $120 on them.

Hell, IDK why people would spend $90-$100 on this game after seeing how GF straight lied about Dexit just to sell them half the missing mons back later.
Because the games are still huge fun. And that's also not the point of this thread.
 

Professor Beef

Official ResetEra™ Chao Puncher
Member
Oct 25, 2017
12,429
The Digital World
Maybe trading was a big thing back in the days to make kids socialize, but now it's the Switch we're talking about. It's a bigger and more expensive console than the Gameboy. Taking a Switch to school sounds painful. And were do kids socialize? At school.

And if Gamefreaks really wants to focus on the social aspect of the game then making only one version still is enough: how about the trade evolutions, a coop mode with raids and stuff? And also trading isn't reserved to version exclusives. Sometimes you just want to trade with someone because there's a pokémon that you find too rare.

Also, did you guys forget about the trading card game? It's much more affordable, light weight and is all about trading without ruining your kid's eyes
the TCG isn't the video game though, and can hardly be called a substitute
 

MoonToon

Member
Nov 9, 2018
684
You do realize that you can use a different profile to start a new game instead. Not defending pokemon company.
Nahhh, I'm off the content loop known as Pokemon (Finding out that shiny Pokemon don't appear as shiny in the overworld was legit the last straw. That shit is in LGP/E O_o). All I care to remember about the inner workings of Sword Shield is that apparently there was no GTS found.


Because the games are still huge fun. And that's also not the point of this thread.
... You asked me why would people buy THIS game twice and I answered that I don't know as I don't even see value in the game enough to buy it once and that I assume it's one of the same reasons why people like me did before. Just got use to it AND/ OR they like catching their own Pokemon which includes version exclusives.

If you read that and think that "the games are still huge fun" then I guess you answered your own question.
 
Jan 10, 2018
4,737
Yeah I don’t believe that’s the case either
It is core premise of what Jim Sterling is saying. And it is mindboggling.

Like yes again, Yellow and the follow up improved versions were just there for the money. Simply releasing games for money is admittingly nothing I can worked up over. Like there is room between, yes, it is a business and oh man, it is such trash because it is a business.

But also yes, the idea, the business model and appeal of Pokemon is not that you buy both versions. It is the very opposite of it. Of course, TPC won't mind if you ignore that and buy both versions anyway.
 

Kapryov

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,383
Australia
He's right.

Also you don't need to sell 2 different versions of the same game to encourage trading. The mons are already in both games. It's bogus.
Just make it so different pokemon spawn depending on the gendered character you chose or something, or some other early choice in the game.

There you go, Game Freak, that one was free.

I get that most people will just buy one version each, or two for their kids, but it's unnecessary. You can still buy 2 copies. They don't need to be different at all.
It's just to sucker collectors and fans into buying two copies.

This whole reaction of "you're not supposed to buy both" is just blocking your ears and looking away because it doesn't impact you directly.
 

zMiiChy-

Member
Dec 12, 2017
701
If Gamefreak doesn't expect people to buy both versions of the game, why the hell is there a double pack for Sword and Shield?

It's still in the top 50 best selling list for Switch Games on Amazon NA BTW.

All the differing features and Pokémon between the campaigns could easily be accomplished by a Sword / Shield toggle when starting the game.

Of course, Gamefreak will happily take extra money from their fanbase instead, and it's frankly disgusting.

Fire Emblem Fates had a single dynamic DLC expansion that could be bought regardless of which version of the base game was owned, but Pokémon has two separate expansions with slight differences...
Talk about gross.

I have no respect for the Pokémon IP anymore.
 
Jan 10, 2018
4,737
He's right.

Also you don't need to sell 2 different versions of the same game to encourage trading. The mons are already in both games. It's bogus.
Just make it so different pokemon spawn depending on the gendered character you chose or something, or some other early choice in the game.

There you go, Game Freak, that one was free.

I get that most people will just buy one version each, or two for their kids, but it's unnecessary. You can still buy 2 copies. They don't need to be different at all.
It's just to sucker collectors and fans into buying two copies.

This whole reaction of "you're not supposed to buy both" is just blocking your ears and looking away because it doesn't impact you directly.
The idea that Game Freak released the games in 1996 fully expecting that Pokemon 1. has fans 2. collectors 3. enough fans and collectors who buy both versions and build their business model around those fans and collectors, does appear far more crazy than the far less crazy and far less popular explanation.
 

MrCunningham

Member
Nov 15, 2017
1,364
Brushing off criticism of the monetisation of modern Pokemon as "they were always a scam" is kinda wrong though. If you compare the old and new model side by side the new one just comes out worse. This thread is glaring over a lot of issues too and seem to focus on fans that want to buy both versions instead.

With the old games you bought a $40 game, then a year later an expanded version for $40 again if you wanted to. Trading was free and smooth between all versions too.
I agree with you when talking about the original games. They were released for the original 1989 GameBoy (with SGB enhancements) on 1MB cartridges, which I believe was the biggest ROM size Nintendo would manufacture for original Game Boy games at a $40 price point. When you take into consideration of all the 2D art used for each Pokemon character, Game Freak probably couldn't fit all Pokemon into one ROM. They had to split it up into two games. But it did also help create the buisness model for both games with the trading aspect.

But this is less of an excuse with the newer games in the series.
 

GiantBreadbug

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,745
wait... wait

It took me until now to realize that the DLCs were exclusive to each game rather than both being available for both Sword and Sheild

what the fuck
 

Barn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,434
Los Angeles
I disagree that the two versions is an overly predatory business choice -- as many, many others have said, buying one version while your friend buys a different version is central to the whole premise of Pokemon. The megafans who buy both for themselves are a niche and can't expect to be directly catered do (though, if 2019 and Pokemon showed us anything, they certainly do). I really don't buy the rhetoric that the two versions are made because certain hardcore fans buy both; given the development and manufacturing involved, that really doesn't sound like it would make much logistical or financial sense. Likewise, Game Freak isn't pitching people to buy both DLCs; they're pitching you to buy the one for your one game.

I do agree that the "third version" sucked in practice; I would call that a trash business model. I played through Sword. I was happy with the experience and felt satisfied with the amount of content, and I'd be interested in buying more content later on down the line. There's no way I'd buy a whole new game and start from square one, though. So I actually see the Expansion Pass as a solid improvement to that shitty formula; I'd be paying less than the price of another full game, and not feeling as though I missed out on the "best" version, or was punished for being an early adopter.
 

Kapryov

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,383
Australia
The idea that Game Freak released the games in 1996 fully expecting that Pokemon 1. has fans 2. collectors 3. enough fans and collectors who buy both versions and build their business model around those fans and collectors, does appear far more crazy than the far less crazy and far less popular explanation.
I'm not a big enough fan to explain their thinking behind splitting it into 2 versions from the start. Maybe it was legitimately due to space limitations on the GB, or maybe they really thought to encourage trading between kids back then. It's a novel idea for a time when consoles had limited connectivity with each other.

There's no need for it now though. There's no technical reason why I can't boot the game up and choose Sword or Shield from the main menu, is there?
 
Jan 10, 2018
4,737
I'm not a big enough fan to explain their thinking behind splitting it into 2 versions from the start. Maybe it was legitimately due to space limitations on the GB, or maybe they really thought to encourage trading between kids back then. It's a novel idea for a time when consoles had limited connectivity with each other.

There's no need for it now though. There's no technical reason why I can't boot the game up and choose Sword or Shield from the main menu, is there?

I agree with you when talking about the original games. They were released for the original 1989 GameBoy (with SGB enhancements) on 1MB cartridges, which I believe was the biggest ROM size Nintendo would manufacture for original Game Boy games at a $40 price point. When you take into consideration of all the 2D art used for each Pokemon character, Game Freak probably couldn't fit all Pokemon into one ROM. They had to split it up into two games. But it did also help create the buisness model for both games with the trading aspect.

But this is less of an excuse with the newer games in the series.
The core of Jim Sterlings statement, what many here vehemently agree on, is that the Pokemon business model was from the very start that you would buy both versions and than the cashin.
 
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Jessie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,477
Imagine any body defending Nintendo and game freak with the

YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BUY BOTH VERSIONS!!!!

It's a shitty practice and should be called out as such.

seriously some of you would probably sell your children to slavery if Nintendo said it was the right thing to do.
I was wondering why this user got banned, then I got to the last line. OOF.
 

Kapryov

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,383
Australia
The core of Jim Sterlings statement, what many here vehemently agree on, is that the Pokemon business model was from the very start that you would buy both versions and than the cashin.
Yes I watched the video, which is largely him asking why fans are complaining when they should be used to it.
Let's set aside Red/Blue as a first game experiment for a second here though.

What's the reason why they're still selling 2 copies of the same game now?
Just put a Sword/Shield selection menu at the start. Your save, once started, will be locked into that content, right? So you still need to trade with other people if you want a complete dex.
 

Deleted member 426

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Oct 25, 2017
7,272
It is core premise of what Jim Sterling is saying. And it is mindboggling.

Like yes again, Yellow and the follow up improved versions were just there for the money. Simply releasing games for money is admittingly nothing I can worked up over. Like there is room between, yes, it is a business and oh man, it is such trash because it is a business.

But also yes, the idea, the business model and appeal of Pokemon is not that you buy both versions. It is the very opposite of it. Of course, TPC won't mind if you ignore that and buy both versions anyway.
It’s not really true to say that’s his core argument though is it? His wider point is that TPC knowingly takes advantage of its fanbase with practices that range from ‘ehhh’ to ‘woahhh’. I don’t agree that the two versions is an issue, yes TPC take advantage to make a few extra bucks but if you’re buying essentially the same game twice on the same day that’s 100% on you. But third versions, exclusive Pokémon to third versions, expansion passes that are locked to one version or the other? There’s a definite pattern of TPC pushing harder on its fanbases wallets than many other games do, and certainly other kids’ games.
 

NSESN

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,547
Yes I watched the video, which is largely him asking why fans are complaining when they should be used to it.
Let's set aside Red/Blue as a first game experiment for a second here though.

What's the reason why they're still selling 2 copies of the same game now?
Just put a Sword/Shield selection menu at the start. Your save, once started, will be locked into that content, right? So you still need to trade with other people if you want a complete dex.
Probably marketing reasons. I ferl like a hige part of the marketing is making a rivalry between versions